Red Sox legend unexpected praise for Yankees’ potential star, Juan Soto

Juan Soto from the New York Yankees during a batting practice session

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In a surprising turn of events, former Boston Red Sox legend, David Ortiz, notorious for once playfully spraying “Yankee Repellent” on rising star Juan Soto, has now made an unexpected admission. Ortiz, in an interview with Dominican sports reporter Laura Bonnelly, conveyed a message to the New York Yankees, urging them to retain Soto beyond the 2023 season.

What did he say?

In an interview that took an unexpected twist, Ortiz stated, “It’s difficult for me to say this, but he has the pose of a Yankees player. The way he presents himself—clean-shaven, composed, and dedicated. This is a guy that doesn’t get involved in negative things. He’s very committed to the sport, and he speaks English well.”

Soto, the 25-year-old slugger, recently became a Yankee after a trade with the San Diego Padres, involving four pitchers—Drew Thorpe, Jhony Brito, Michael King, and Randy Vásquez—and catcher Kyle Higashioka during the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

The Ortiz proposition

The player of the new york yankees, juan soto during his introduction interview on december 13.
MLB

Although Soto remained noncommittal about his future in the Bronx beyond 2023 during his introductory Zoom press conference, Ortiz vehemently argued against letting him walk away. Instead, he recommended that the Yankees make a substantial financial commitment to convince the talented outfielder to stay.

“If I’m the Yankees, I give him 12 years, $500 million,” Ortiz boldly suggested.

Soto’s current expected salary falls between $29 million, as per Spotrac, and $33 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors’s projected arbitration salaries in 2024. Notably, he turned down a lucrative 15-year, $440 million deal from the Nationals in 2022, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Ortiz’s proposed figure of $500 million might not be far-fetched considering Soto’s exceptional performance and potential market value.

Backing up Ortiz’s recommendation are Soto’s remarkable career statistics, boasting a .284/.421/.524 slash line with an impressive 157 OPS+. According to MLB stat expert Sarah Langs, this OPS+ ranks as the fifth-highest through any player’s age-24 season with a minimum of 3,000 plate appearances. Soto finds himself in elite company, trailing only baseball legends Ty Cobb (176), Mike Trout (170), Mickey Mantle (166), and Jimmie Foxx (166).

Ortiz’s unexpected endorsement of Soto’s fit with the Yankees and his bold financial recommendation add a fascinating layer to the ongoing narrative surrounding this young and immensely talented player. It remains to be seen how the Yankees will respond to Ortiz’s advice and whether they will make the substantial investment Ortiz believes is necessary to secure Juan Soto’s future in pinstripes.

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